It was an itch I needed to scratch
My name’s Jack. I’m 31 and have been riding for about 5 years and, after swapping through a few Hondas, currently ride a KTM 1290 Super Duke GT which I love. I got into riding because it was an itch I needed to scratch with bikers in the family, but the official party line is that it makes commuting a bit less painful and a lot more fun. I spend most of my time finding interesting new commuting routes around Bucks, and try to get away to Wales with my Dad when I can.
Being as safe as possible on two-wheels
I joined a BikeSafe course in Abingdon with Thames Valley Police and wanted to share my experience. I signed up to get an idea of where my riding skills are at five years after taking my test, and hopefully start working on any bad habits. I’m keen to learn how to be as safe as possible on two wheels while still getting the fun out of biking, and this seemed like a good opportunity to take some advanced training without a huge cost/time commitment.
Interactive, not too dry or preachy and not a scare job
The classroom work is about as fun as classroom work can be and goes into the pre-read topics in more depth. It was very interactive, not too dry or preachy and not a scare job like some of them used to be. It was also great to pick the officers brains. We covered a few core topics, ISPSGA, road positioning, overtaking and some useful highway code perspectives around filtering etc.
The ride out was exceptional. We had 2 civilians to 1 officer. The focus was on riding normally and to try to introduce some of the lessons at your own pace, with no pressure to go slower or faster than you want. I ended up matched with another KTM rider and it turned out we had similar riding styles.
It wasn’t at all like a license test, we rode at a decent pace, and I got a good insight into how the riding advice can lead to safer and more fun rides particularly by applying the positioning advice. I also got to see some impressive, controlled riding from the officer. Cheers Wookie.
At the end of the session, we met up with the other riders and officers from our course at BMW North Oxford for a chat and debrief. There were a few IAM representatives there to chat to if it was of interest; the BikeSafe course is pitched as an intro to advanced riding, but I didn’t find it preachy.
A great way to brush up on skills and knowledge without a huge time or financial cost
I’m already applying the lessons learned into my regular riding, particular IPSGA, the positioning for visibility and stability and the advice from the classroom session about observations and filtering. I also genuinely enjoyed the process and have since signed up to complete my IAM certification.
I thoroughly recommend BikeSafe, especially for the price. It ended up being what I wanted; a great way to brush up on skills and knowledge without a huge time or financial cost, and in a fun environment.
The course would be invaluable for newer riders as well as the more experienced among us. I’d like to have done it sooner – I can see it having great value for newer riders to avoid bad habits setting in. I plan to join the course again in the next year or two, for an ongoing skills brush-up as well an opportunity to learn from the officers.
Cheers, Jack – attended BikeSafe (August 2023) with Thames Valley Police.